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PostPosted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 12:11 am 
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You're right on that, I was trying to talk about Akiria's idealization of the other which causes him to with child like innocence cause more harm than good.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:05 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:06 am
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knives wrote:
Broken record at the moment, but once again Eclipse proves itself to be the real main line. I've only cracked this open with I Hate But Love, but already it's more than worth what I got for it. It's fascinating in a lot of ways, but I suppose I should mention how it is not it's sources. The character at the center of the film is similar enough to Sullivan, but the journey he takes and what for is drastically different. I like how the linear notes bring up A Face in the Crowd in this respect since the film might have more in common with that one. So it eventually morphs into this wonderful tale of self destructive for a concept that I don't think he entirely is sure he believes in.

This is one of those cases where I suspect the subtleties of the Japanese language adds a lot to the movie that simply can't be conveyed via the subtitles. It's not that I felt lost or anything like that, but the emphasis on concepts through words, especially ones as complex as relationship ideas, just leaves that too open. Of course even if I was lost I think I would have been glad to see this Broadcast News relationship play out total surface layer. The direction, script, and of course performances are just phenomenal. While Ishihara only on occasion is allowed to show off the ferocity that made I Am Waiting so exhilarating it's at least as good a performance. It's a really internal performance that physically is loud, but comes across as quiet because his eyes are always rolled down as if his mind and body are separate, apart from the eyes. Again what I mean to say is that his thoughtfulness makes small his gestures and voice. He adds a layer that he can't show because of the character his character plays. It's like he always has to be Hurt crying, but he wonders how much of that is real.

Flipside of the coin shows new to me Asaoka being just as complex, but in a totally different way, which she sort of has to be considering where her character is. In many senses the part is much more showoffy with her character's main conflict being a more typical one and also more directly expressive, but by that same token it is way more susceptible to bad overacting which she thankfully doesn't do. Her character is like a fish swimming toward the bear thinking it's just an other part of the stream and she communicates that just perfectly. Even though she's in such desperate need for reassessment it's nice to just watch her be the boss. It's a plain character arc, but one that's made fun to watch all the same just due to the energy of the performance.

Of course this wouldn't be '60s Nikkatsu without some insane camerawork and Kurahara does it insanely well. He throws out the noir realist style for something closer to Tashlin or Godard at his cartooniest with some of the best usage of natural colour I've seen. Maybe that last point is just the garishness of the '60s speaking, but it seems that the production design and costume is relatively down to earth even if it gives off a neon vibe. Than again that might just be the camera work which whips around, jumps, and even smacks throughout which gives even the scenes that on paper should be quiet or sentimental this elastic vibration and hyperactivity that ran me out of breath. Can't wait to get to the rest.

I watched 'Hate' last night, and am about to watch 'Thirst' now.

I think the comparison with 'Sullivan's Travels' is fair enough: in many respects its the quintessential road movie, but mixed in with a dose of classic screwball comedy, - perhaps Hawks' '20th Century' the closest comparison, off the top of my head, - and the look, and occasional zaniness, of vintage 50's Frank Tashlin.
I wasn't always sure to what extent the background road scenes were actual shots, or stock footage, but I loved everything about his road shots, particularly the panoramic widescreen shots, day and night, and the 'windscreen conversation' shots.
In its 'satirical' aspects it reminded me somewhat of Yoshida's 'Blood Is Dry', and Wilder's 'Ace in the Hole', although considerably softer-centred than either.
Overall a fun film: technically impressive, but a helluva long way from being warped, - particularly given Japanese standards for same


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 12:06 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2008 10:06 am
Location: Ireland
knives wrote:
Can't wait until you get to Thirst for Love which cranks up many of Black Sun's best and worst qualities and it's no wonder why he got fired for it. As for Black Sun though, different cinematographer (Toichiro Narushima for your guess). What you said also reminds me of The Wizard of Oz which is appropriate I suppose. I think there is one difference here to those films though in that it's not the child looking for escape in the traditional sense so much as him being so amazed at the potential of the world. It kind of reminds me of Down by Law. Both the communication problems and the innocence breeding horrible behavior seem intertwined.

I think the term is 'steamy melodrama', or, perhaps more fittingly, given the locations, 'hothouse of passion'.
I haven't read it but I wonder what if any similarities the story has to 'Lady Chatterley's Lover'?
Or the 'steaminess' to Tennessee Williams?
Some of his compositions brought to mind peak-period Kiju Yoshida, but, dramatically I think its closer to the Ichikawa of such as 'Kagi' and 'Kokoro'.

Putting the set in its perspective I think 'Black Sun' is the best, and most original of the films: its something of a toss-up between the two 'loves' as to which is better: I love the look of 'I Hate But Love' and its breeziness, and its various movie-references; 'Thirst For Love' is probably the most mature of the set, although the influence of two compatriots is quite strong.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 12:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am
I see I missed posting on The Warped Ones and Intimidation last year when I got behind on writing... I finally got back to this set with I Hate but Love which is a tremendous film on a lot of levels. First, in its indictment of the media and star culture mentality of Japan and then weaving that expertly into a love story and also a quest story which also comment on Japanese culture in interesting ways (both in the film's anxiety with a woman in power over a man (and in the workplace), the critique of people who fetishize self-martyrdom and self-sacrfice, and in the social aspects of neglected rural and impoverished areas). It reminded me very much of the Oshima set, and I often caught myself attributing some choice or another in the film mentally to Oshima, before checking myself that, no, this is the Kurahara set.

Daisaku is a hot young celebrity in Japan, he does radio and television and they refer to films he's done as well. He's only been big for a few years, he really took off after he hired Noriko to be his manager. Noriko, with the help of the film and television machine, has Daisaku completely under her total control and she is also completely in love with him--today, in fact, marks their two year anniversary working together. Daisaku sleeps around and he wants to sleep with Noriko, but she won't allow it.

Daisaku identifies a classified ad, "seeking a humanist driver" to be used in their nightly "from the classified's" television program he does interviewing people about their ambiguous classified ads. This puts him in place with a self-martyring woman who is "in love" with a doctor penpal and has purchased a barely running army jeep with the doctor but she needs someone to drive it the 900 miles to the remote northern island of kyushu. Impulsively, Daisaku declares he will drive the jeep, in order to learn about "true love" and "humanism." Except he is so completely scheduled, he'd be breaking dozens of contracts to do so. He ditches his career and Noriko and embarks on his quest to drive the jeep 900 miles. Noriko schemes constantly to subvert or coopt his quest, but ultimately fails in both and eventually meekly follows his will, no longer dominant over his life.

It's a constantly good piece, whether embedded in Daisaku's chaotic swinging life or the intense focus of a the lonely road trip the film is quite mesmerizing and constantly memorable and it keeps the edge of it's social critiques bitterly sharp.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 1:15 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am
A young man steals some salvaged cable from fellow vagrants, laboring in and in front of an industrial wasteland, and promptly uses the money to buy the jazz record album, "Black Sun." Thus begins a rather surprising and frequently veering drama between Mei and Gill on the edges of Japanese society.

An american GI, Gill, is being hunted for murder and it turns out that he is hiding in Mei's home--a bombed out church scheduled for demolition. Despite being a squatter, Mei keeps a cozy environment, complete with friendly Dog, whom Mei has named Thelonious Monk.

Gill is injured, and bleeding, but uses his gun to hold Mei hostage. Mei is delighted to have a black houseguest, an embodiment of his obsession with jazz. the first half of the movie is something of an intense back and forth in the small space of Mei's little home, and just as they're beginning to nearly kill each other with cabin fever, the film explodes outward into a bizarre buddy movie, road movie, and I'm-not-sure-that's-mutually-platonic relationship movie, ending in a symbolic, and bizarre climactic balloon moment straight out of the title.

But the film is perhaps most memorable for the bizarre scene of inverted race white face / black face clowning by Gill and Mei.

Discordant and probably political in ways I have no context to grapple with, the film is no masterpiece but it is something of a fascinating and enjoyable explosion of pulp.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 18, 2008 12:44 am
Thirst for Love is a deranged female melodrama that I thoroughly enjoyed. Etsuko is a widow, she naturally lives with her husband's family and she is preserving her status by maintaining a sexual relationship with her father in law. The film opens with her shaving her father in law and 'accidentally' cutting him. Then she goes to a statue and has a L'Age d'Or moment with the statue whilst the hot-young-thing gardener, Saburo, ogles her fondling the statue. Embarassed but not chastened she slaps and scolds him: roll opening credits.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
The openly erotic, sex-filled class critique of the film only escalates from this hot-and-bothered opening as Etsuko wields her power and influence to control the lives of the servants, including successfully pressuring a maid to abort Saburo's child. Eventually, Etsuko's passions violently climax, but her murder/orgasm in killing Saburo is definitely not a "little death."


This film surprised me the most of all of the entire set, very entertaining, and often shocking, at least to me.


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